I am delighted to report that the Wedgwood Collection has been saved and in record time. The Art Fund’s public campaign to keep this irreplaceable archive that combines 8,000 ceramics with more than 80,000 documents recording 250 years of the political, social, industrial, artistic, technological history of Britain began on September 1st. Their goal was to raise £2.74 million by November 30th. Added to the £13.1 million they had already raised with contributions from the Heritage Lottery fund and private organizations, the total £15.75 million ($25,617,000) was the price to acquire the entire Wedgwood Collection.
Within two weeks we had raised £700,000, contributed by 4,000 members of the public. A few days later, the campaign reached £1m from the public and £1m from major donors and grant-making foundations, propelling the total to £2m.
In the last week the match fund was extended and public donations continued to flood in. The appeal surged towards its final target thanks to donations from two regional sources: £250,000 from the Bet365 Foundation, led by Denise Coates CBE, and £100,000 from Staffordshire County Council.
Nearly 7,500 people donated sums as small as £10 and as large as six-figure checks. The most popular amount was £25. Donors chipped in from all over the world, but fully one fifth of the public donations came from the Midlands, the home region of the Wedgwood Collection. Every donation from individual tenners to large pledges like £100,000 from Staffordshire construction equipment manufacturer JCB was matched by a private foundation, a generous gift that was originally only going to last the first few weeks of the challenge but was then extended through the entire campaign.
The massive groundswell of support to save the Wedgwood Collection was unprecedented in the 111-year history of the Art Fund. This was its fastest fundraising campaign ever.
Now the Art Fund has to acquire the collection as per their agreement with all parties. They will then donate it to the Victoria & Albert Museum who will be the archive’s legal owner in perpetuity. The V&A will set up a long-term loan of the archive to the Wedgewood Museum in Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent. At no point will the collection physically move. It’s in the Wedgwood Museum now and there it will remain while money changes hands and legalities are sorted out.
The post-bankruptcy merged company Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton (WWRD) is in the middle of an extensive £34 million redevelopment of the Wedgwood factory site which will include a new visitor center at the museum. The new World of Wedgwood is slated for completion next spring. (No, I don’t know why they had £34 million to spend on the center but had to get charity to spend less than half that amount securing the actual collection that is the major part of what visitors go to see. It’s probably some hideous legal Gordian Knot involving the bankruptcy and the pension fund liability.)
Now is the time on The History Blog when we dance, Wedgwood style.
DNA testing has revealed that a man, whose skeleton was found in the ruins of a Medieval Italian village, died of an infection called brucellosis usually acquired by ingesting unpasteurized dairy products. The report, by Warwick Medical School's Professor Mark Pallen and his colleagues, was published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Any self-proclaimed geek will appreciate actor John C. Reilly's story about his attendance at a Renaissance faire. He shared the story, as well as a photo of himself from the time, on Late Night with David Letterman. (video)
Brita of the East Kingdom reports that she has created an album of photos from Pennsic 43. The photos may be viewed on her Shutterfly website.
Leif Arne Nordheim, long annoyed by a group of flagstones that poked up above ground level impeding the path of his lawnmower, borrowed his neighbor’s backhoe to remove them. At first the job was uneventful, but when he was finishing up with the last of the slabs, he unearthed what looked like a large pair of pliers or tongs. They looked like they might be a couple of hundred of years old but he didn’t think much of it until he came across a bent sword next. That’s when he realized they might be archaeological artifacts rather than old tools and called in the experts.
Archaeologists from the county Cultural Department and Bergen University came to excavate the site. They found an axe and several other pieces of metalwork that stylistically date to the 8th or 9th century A.D. State Conservationist Eva Moberg noted that this is an extremely rare find. The last time similar artifacts were unearthed was in 1913 at the grave of Viking blacksmith. Although no human remains were discovered in Mr. Nordheim’s back yard, it’s possible that this too was a deposit of grave goods for the person who used those tongs in life.
The excavation is continuing at county expense. The artifacts will be conserved and ultimately put on public display at the University Museum of Bergen. There’s excellent video of the yard and excavation in this news story which is almost entirely in Norwegian except for one archaeologist’s comments that are in English.
This is not the first time notable archaeological objects have been discovered in the area. In 1917, a farmer turned up the Eggja stone while plowing a field just a kilometer from the Nordheim homestead. The stone, found face-down over the grave of an adult male, is inscribed with about 200 runes of Elder Futhark, the oldest runic alphabet. It dates to 650-700 A.D. and is the longest surviving inscription of Elder Futhark. There are multiple possible interpretations of the runes on the Eggja stone, see the Rune Project database for possible translations of section 1, 2 and 3).
The discovery of the remains of Richard III has given the scientific community an unparalleled glimpse into royal lifestyles in the Middle Ages. The latest published research involves the diet and drinking habits of the 15th century monarch.
Event: The Annual Brewing Festival of St. Ægir
Where: The Shire of Archer’s Ford – Pennside Presbyterian Church – 253 N. 25th St., Reading, PA 19606
When: Saturday, February 28th, 2015
The Brotherhood of Brewers and the East Kingdom Brewer’s Guild present the third annual Brewing Festival of Saint Ægir. Join us this year at our new location. There will of course be various brews for tasting. Bring your best for the EKBG paneling.
We have broadened our event this year. If you find it at a tavern, we might have classes for it. Not only will there be classes on various types of brew, but there’s more. Classes are being added, so check back. Some of the classes we have already, involve cooking and merriment. We will have a dayboard prepared by everyone’s favorite Swedish chef, Lord Uncle Chuck (yes, that guy). BORK BORK BORK.
What would a tavern be without the camaraderie of friends, a good story, and music. Come tell old man winter he can’t keep you down, and join us!
Reservations: $10 pre-registered members; $12 members at-the-door; +$5 non-member surcharge.
Pre-registrations must be postmarked by 2/14/2015; Checks Payable to “SCA – PA, Inc. – Shire of Hartshorn-dale”
Send reservations to Lord Damiano Vitallie de Fonda, 1400 Hay Road, Temple, PA 19560
Autocrat: Lord Matheus Carnifex (mbowers75@ comcast .net)
Merchants contact: Lord Alexander Makcristyne (cmakcristyne@ gmail .com)
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events
Viscountess Elashava bas Riva of the Kingdom of Northshield has posed a challenge to SCA members in her kingdom and to the Known World: Do five things to better the SCA and your experience of it.
It's 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Riverside Park, Wichita, Kansas, but that doesn't deter Eric Simoncic and Andrew Walker, members of Stormwrath, the local chapter of the Midwest Dagorhir Union, who spent the hot day practicing with foam weapons. Kelsey Ryan of the Wichita Eagle has the story.
Four transverse ribs are carved into the inside of the hull at regular intervals and a horizontal girder intersects the ribs down the length of the piece. Because the ribs are heavier on the side with the curved end, that was probably the lower side of the canoe. This is the first time these kinds of ribs have been documented in New Zealand, although they were reported in the Southern Cook Islands just a hundred years ago.
The edges are perforated with lashing holes chiseled through the wood. Four of them are still packed with caulking made from pounded wads of bark (probably from the totara tree). Radiocarbon dating performed on three wood samples from different areas of the hull and four caulking samples taken from three of the lashings returned a result of around 1400 A.D. for the last time the canoe was caulked.
That’s enormously significant as Wairau Bar, a settlement on the northeastern coast of South Island that is the earliest known colonization, dated to the early 1300s. The Anaweka canoe, therefore, was in use within a century of colonization. There is only one other surviving canoe from early colonization found more than 30 years ago in the Society Islands 2,500 miles away from South Island. Archaeologists have had little to go on to reconstruct the ocean-going canoes Polynesians used for maritime migration and long-distance travel between islands after colonization. The main sources have been observations by European explorers centuries later and analysis of canoe-related vocabulary in Austronesian languages. This new find lends rare insight into the maritime technology that drove the East Polynesian settlement of New Zealand.
When intact, the canoe was probably at least 46 feet long. Archaeologists believe it was a double canoe, although it could also have been a single with an outrigger. It was a large, complex composite of planked and dugout canoe, an adaptation of East Polynesian maritime technology developed in the wake of the colonization of New Zealand. The form required very large trees to produce, trees that would only have been available to the Polynesians after settlement in New Zealand.
A raised relief of a sea turtle is carved into the outer hull at the curved end. A carved ridge runs behind the turtle to the very edge of the hull. Archaeologists believe the ridge may depict the wake of the turtle as it swims, which may be a clue to which way the canoe moved through the water (matching the direction of the turtle, that is). This is a spectacular feature, not just because it’s adorable but because it’s a clear representation of Polynesian culture. The Maori rarely used turtles as decorative motifs before the arrival of Europeans, but turtles are all over Polynesian art. Sea turtles are known to make very long ocean voyages, so they were more than appropriate spirit animals for the people who colonized the Pacific, and they make fine figureheads for the ocean-going canoes that made colonization possible.
Master Luke Knowlton, King’s Champion and myself, Mistress Rainillt de Bello Marisco, Queen’s Champion are, on behalf of the Kingdom of the East, Their Royal Majesties, and the office of the Minster of Arts and Science, are pleased to announce the King’s and Queen’s Arts and Science Championship.
The Championship will be held on Saturday March 7th in the Barony of L’lle du Dragon Dormant (Montreal). See the Event Announcement temporarily listed on http://pleatworkembroidery.com/KQASAnnoucement.pdf
There is also a Facebook page set up for the event by the hosts at :
We will have registration information for the actual championship shortly. If
-Mistress Rainillt de Bello Marisco, Queen’s Champion of Arts & Sciences
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Events
Project leader Tony Connolly of the Framland Local Archaeology Group has been hoping to find the "lost" 12th century manor house at Croxton Kerrial, near the Lincolnshire border in England. This summer's excavations have revealed several structures including a tithe barn.
King Edward commissioned his bard, Lord Martyn de Halliwell to pen a song that spoke of the virtues of his Queen, Thyra, great patroness of the noble flamingo and mighty hedgehog. Thus did Martyn pen these words, and set them to the 14th Century tune known as “Douce Dame Jolie” by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377). He entitled them “In Forty Years & Nine,” however, the song is now lovingly known as the “Flamingos and Hedgehogs Song.”
The song was performed by Lord Martyn de Halliwell, Mistress Aife ingen Chonchobair, Maistre Lucien de Pontivy, Baroness Ysmay de Lynn, Lady Aildreda de Tamwörthe, Lady Isabeau d’Orleans, Lady Violet Coleson, and Lady Katrin Daans. Baronne Sabine de Kerbriant and Lady Margretha la Fauvelle accompanied the singers on recorder and citole, respectively.
There is a buzzing sound at about 0:18 in the video, the sound returns back to normal following. The lyrics are posted below.
In forty years and nine there was a virtuous Queen of Eastern lands and patroness of flamingos and mighty hedgehogs.
Her Prowess is unmatched with a bow, her arrows fly through the sun-filled sky she inspires all to fight for the East and noble creatures small and great.
Her Loyalty and Faith show that her will is strong as any Royal Peer’s She inspires us to day to sing and praise her forevermore.
Her Generosity and Mercy are well known throughout the Known World King Edward did repent and she forgave so we sing of her virtues for you today.
Thyra’s Courtesy abounds even now for all to see and hear She’s not kicked me right out or banished me for these words that I have penned.
Queen Thyra couteous Queen of the East we sing to day so all might know this Eastern Rose’s great display of noble virtues.
Filed under: Court Tagged: Bardic, bards, coronation, Music, song
In the Court of our most excellent prince and lord, Edward, by right of arms most illustrious King of the East, third of that name, and Thyra, his Queen by that same right, second of that name, held at the Barony of Bergental upon 27 September in the forty-ninth year of the Society, on the which day were called all and sundry the lords and ladies of the realm and the great persons of the kingdom to hear the following publicly proclaimed:
Item. Having assumed the Tyger Throne in accordance with the signs and portents given and the most ancient traditions of the East Kingdom, Their Majesties summoned into their Court the good Caoilfhionn inghean Uí Fhaoláin, most recently Empress, and did take testimony as to her great nobility and manifold virtues; and hearing the said testimony, Their Majesties thereupon created the said Caoilfhionn as a Lady of a Rose with Arms by Letters Patent, the which deed was confirmed by a document created by Katherine Stanhope;
Item. Their Majesties created Brennan MacFergus and Caoilfhionn inghean Uí Fhaoláin Count and Countess for their great and worthy service as Emperor and Empress of the Realm, the which elevation was memorialized in documents authored by Lucius Aurelius Varus and calligraphed and illuminated by Saerlaith ingen Chennetig;
Whereupon Their Majesties’ Court was suspended until the evening, when the following business was proclaimed publicly:
Item: Her Majesty summoned those members of the Queen’s Guard in attendance and invested them with her livery and the symbols of their responsibility;
Item: There Majesties commanded the presence of Genevieve Grant before the Tyger Thrones, and the good lady so appearing, did endow her with the Order of the Tyger’s Cub;
Item: The Order of the Tyger’s Cub being not yet complete, Their Majesties thereupon summoned Francesca of the Barony Beyond the Mountain before them and inducted her into the Order aforesaid, the which deed was memorialized in a document created by Eloise of Coulter;
Item: Their Majesties caused the good man Akamatsu Katsumoto to bring before the thrones his lady wife, Akamatsu Tora, and, praising their deeds for the Kingdom, did Award Arms to them both, the which awards were memorialized in documents in their native tongue created by Isabel Fleuretan and Kameshima Zentarou Umakai;
Item: Her Majesty caused a Writ of Exile and Attainder to be issued against the dread and horrible piñas de Indes, known vulgarly as “pineapples,” that have lately infested the Kingdom;
Item: Their Majesties called before the Court the honorable Treya Min Teanga and presented her with a creation in leather by Camma an Daraich commemorating the said Treya’s induction into the Order of the Sagittarius, previously done;
Item: As memorial for the noble Lillith LeBlanc lately cruelly taken from us, Their Majesties led the Court in a moment of silence;
Item: Their Majesties brought the Lady Aine Neamheaglach before the Court to speak of efforts to raise funds for treatment of the injuries sustained by Sir Diablu;
Item: Their Majesties caused Aildreda de Tamworthe, called Dreda, to be brought before the Court and, praising her labors for the good of the realm, did create her a member of the Order of the Silver Crescent, the which deed was memorialized in a document authored by Jehan du Lac and calligraphed and illuminated by Eowyn Eilonwy of Alewife Brook;
Item: Their Majesties summoned the Captain-General of Archers, Master Godric, to address the Court concerning great deeds upon the archery range; whereupon Otto Gottlieb was created a Master Bowman and Eleanora Stewart was created a Grand Master Bowman, the said Eleanora’s achievement being memorialized in an engraved arrow with a hand-forged head created by Kenric aet Essex;
Item: Their Majesties called into their presence the good lady Aryana van Wyck, called Arlyana, and, in recognition of her lengthy labors and good deeds, did create her a Baroness of the Court and Grant her Arms;
Item: Their Majesties summoned before the Tyger Throne the noble and right honored Ygraine of Kellswood, the which lady being renowned for her labors on behalf of the archers of the realm and many and diverse other good deeds, and acknowledging her great virtue and noblesse, did create her a Tyger of the East, the which deed was memorialized and confirmed in a document authored by Alys Mackyntoich and calligraphed and illuminated by Eva Woderose.
I, Alys Mackyntoich, Eastern Crown Herald, Their Majesties’ most obedient servant, wrote this to memorialize and make certain and perpetual all such things that were done and caused to be done upon 27 September in the First Court of Edward and Thyra.
(Photos by Baroness Cateline la Broderesse, Lord Sergei Rozvad syn, and Mistress Eva Woderose.)
Filed under: Court Tagged: baroness, coronation, Maunche, Silver Crescent, tyger of the east, tyger's cub
Lady Sophia the Orange of the Kingdom of Atlantia reports that a challenge by Mistress Branwen Wallis to the Atlantian Order of the Laurel to take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was carried out by Mistress Rosalind Delamere and Mistress Rosalind Jehanne at Atlantia University, September 20, 2014. A video of their misery is available online. (video)
Patrick Anderson reports that the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. will meet October 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi has been in the hands of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure conservation institute in Florence since November of 2011 after Uffizi Gallery curators determined that the painting’s progressive darkening was becoming an increasingly urgent problem. After a year of preparatory work deploying a wide array of diagnostic technologies — Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence, Infrared reflectography, X-Ray imaging, 3D relief for the measurement of micro deformation, Optical Coherence Tomography, chemical analysis, spectrophotometry — to analyze the paint and wood panel, conservators began cleaning the surface a year ago.
The oil on panel painting was commissioned in March 1481 by the Augustinian monks of the monastery of San Donato in Scopeto, but Leonardo, who was then a youth of 29 just starting his career, sought greener pastures with Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and the next year moved to Milan leaving the Adoration of the Magi incomplete.
The painting on wood, measuring about 2.5 by 2.5 metres (8.2 by 8.2 feet) depicts the three wise men who paid tribute to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem, but it also includes a riot of human figures, battling horses, architectural designs, landscapes and skies.
Done on 10 slabs of wood glued together, it has blank areas, areas with under-drawings, and sections in advanced stages.
“This is perhaps the most quintessential work-in-progress in the history of art,” said Cecilia Frosinini, one of the directors of the ongoing restoration of the work, which is slated to return to Florence’s Uffizi Gallery next year.
“Leonardo never wanted this to be seen by anyone at this stage, probably not even by those who commissioned it, probably not even his assistants. This is the phase in which he was still elaborating in his mind what the final work would look like,” she said, standing in front of the piece.
The monks eventually turned to Filippino Lippi who completed his Adoration of the Magi in 1496, and Leonardo’s piece wound up in the collection of the de Medici family 100 years later. The Medici restorers filled in paint and added layers of clear and brown varnish to give it a more finished, monochromatic look.
In addition to the accumulation of dirt, smoke and pollutants, the Opificio curators had to deal with all those past restorations. The paint and varnishes have changed over the centuries, oxidizing, discoloring, sometimes separating, sometimes adhering to the original surface and blending into it, so conservators had to be very selective in deciding what to remove. The bottom layer of varnish, for example, could be kept as a fixative and a patina, so there was no danger of damaging the original paint. Their goal was not to return the painting to original condition which simply cannot be done, but to restore its readability and brightness in a way that respects the passage of time while ensuring the most authentic and stable possible result.
The cleaning phase is almost done now (about three quarters of the painting has been cleaned) and it has brought to light much of the expressiveness of Leonardo’s faces, color details like the blue of the sky, design elements like the volume of the clothing and figures previously invisible to the naked eye. You can now see builders working on the ancient temple in the left background, and even subtle sketched details. One of the horses on the right has several heads in different positions, while other horses have an extra leg, evidence that Leonardo wasn’t working from a perforated cartoon outline, but rather drawing freehand as he painted.
The cleaning is expected to be finished in 2015, after which the team will turn their attentions to the wood panels. There are four major vertical cracks that need to be fixed to restore structural integrity to the fragile work. The total cost of the four-year process is expected to be €170,000 ($218,000), which will funded by the Friends of the Uffizi Gallery. Once restoration is complete (hopefully by the end of 2015), the Adoration of the Magi will return to the Uffizi Gallery where it will be on display in a special room along with two other works by Leonardo.
This week's news from the medievalverse has Anders Winroth talking about his new book The Age of the Vikings, funding for Newport's medieval ship, and Buzzfeed talking another look at medieval images.
[View the story "Vikings, Emojis and Michaelmas: Medieval News Round-up" on Storify]
Today (September 29th) is also Michaelmas, the Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel. During the Middle Ages it was an important feastday.
Archaeological excavations at the Romano-British settlement at Bridge Farm, near Barcombe Mills, England have given experts much to ponder, including evidence of a large post-built building, coins and late Roman pottery with pierced bases.
Last Monday was the first time I announced the hashtag campaign for #MedievalMonday, and a number of people from across the Known World rose to the occasion. The campaign even got noticed by the Society Minister of Arts & Sciences, Master Raven Mayne, who encourages everyone to get on board.
Wanna help create interest in new potential members? Congratulations, there’s an easy way to do it without even leaving your house! An informal campaign has been started, using a hashtag, #MedievalMonday
How does one participate? It’s easy! Just take a photo of something Medieval (something you’ve made, of photo of yourself at an event, a super cool illumination, etc.), and post it publicly on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Instagram, and use the hashtag #MedievalMonday
The other, and very important key, is that this happen on Mondays. Why Mondays? Because alliteration makes things easier to remember, and because when multiple people post using the same hashtag, on the same day, it increases exposure.
What will this do?
Well, first and foremost, it’s a positive form of outreach to spread awareness about cool medieval stuff.
Second, as your images get posted, liked, commented on, re-posted, and re-shared, more and more people are exposed to them.
Through my minimal efforts on Instagram, I’ve already attracted in a few people into the SCA; albeit in other Kingdoms so far, but new members are a good thing no matter where they’re from.
The bonus? We all get to see cool pictures of medieval stuff our friends have posted on Mondays, an otherwise very mundane day of the week ;-)
If you’d like to find some of what’s already being posted, it’s easy to find. Just type #medievalmonday into the search bars at the top of your facebook page, Google+ page, twitter, or instagram feed and the posts will display.
Don’t forget to like and comment on your favorite posts. Even if you don’t have something to share this week, liking and commenting on other people’s posts increases its exposure to others, and supports the content creator/broadcaster.
Remember to have fun, and share something cool about this amazing time period!
-Lord Martyn de Halliwell
Photos by Martyn de Halliwell
Filed under: Arts and Sciences Tagged: campaign, medievalmonday, social media